It might sound silly, but choosing a name can be one of the most difficult steps of any venture; it applies to companies, music bands, restaurants, and, more noticeably, stores.
With online stores, finding a proper domain name can take just as much time as other options, and it gets even worse if you find the name you were thinking is already taken. You usually start thinking about names after your store is nearly done.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself needing to change your domain name after you’ve registered one for your business. Luckily, I’ve run my fair share of online stores throughout the years, so I can help you out.
Changing your domain name on Shopify is completely possible; you can do it anytime, and it’s not half as hard as you think. The basic steps are to buy your new domain, add it, assign it, update the system, and verify it’s actually you.
Still sound complicated? You’ll be done in less than 10 minutes.
So, don’t worry. I know how it feels to be stuck with a name you no longer like or can use. Let’s see how you can fix it.
Getting Shopify out of your URL
If you’ve just finished signing up to Shopify, then you’ll notice that your store has a Shopify URL. The store name you used while signing up will be tied to this URL, for instance: allfor10bucks.myshopify.com.
Now, you can work with that URL. You can sell your items and manage your store; it’ll work just like it should. The problem here is that it doesn’t really look professional, and it’ll make branding nearly impossible.
That’s why you want to use custom domains for your store, and these need to be registered with providers. This domain is what you’ll set as the primary domain; it’s what your customers will see on their browser’s address bar when visiting your store.
Managing your domains and assigning this primary option is just a couple of clicks. Go to Domains under your Online Store section on your admin dashboard.
Where can you buy your domain name?
The fastest (and probably first) option you’ll see is to buy your domain from Shopify once you’ve signed up for the platform and set up everything. A step in getting all the technical settings in order is the chance to pay $14 for a domain that will be assigned and launched automatically.
However, you’re mostly paying for convenience with that option. Most newcomers will simply buy it there because they think that getting your domain and setting it up is an intricate ordeal. They prefer to shell $14 right away than searching a bit more and saving money.
The internet is filled with registrars like Namecheap, which is what I would recommend here. I’ve stuck with them since the first time I tried them, as they have outstanding customer support, and the user interface is straightforward, which you might not find in similar services.
However, pricing is the real reason why I advise you to use them: you can buy your domain name for $9 – $6 less than what you’d pay on Shopify. If you want to keep things cost-efficient, then they’re your best bet.
Changing domain names on Shopify
After you have your new domain name bought and ready to use, the next steps are fairly quick, so don’t worry. You’ve basically completed the tough part.
Now, there are 2 ways you can set up your domain name, and which one you’ll use depends on where you bought your domain name.
1. Bought through Shopify
These domains classify as Shopify Managed. To replace your undesired domain with a Shopify Managed domain, then you want to go to Domains, under Online Store through your admin dashboard.
Then, click on “change primary domain”. Find the link you just bought and click on Save. That’s the entire process, so you’ll see that you mostly paid for convenience.
2. Bought externally
If you bought it through other means, like GoDaddy or Namecheap, then you have to set everything up manually. It might sound complicated, but “manually” here just means that it’ll take a couple more minutes than with Shopify domains.
You want to make sure that, after you bought your domain, it appears as owned by you on the registrar you decided to use. If it does, then the next step is to go to your Shopify admin dashboard on a new tab and (again) go to Domains under Online Store.
Here, you choose “connect existing domain” before entering your newly-acquired domain on the field in front of you; just click on Next after that.
Now, we need to update our CNAME record; you do it through your registrar’s account and point it to Shopify. Go into your account and find your list of owned domains. Locate the one you bought for your Shopify website and go to the settings for that domain.
Here, add a new record. Once you see the field, add the IP address from Shopify and save it.
Don’t leave the interface yet. Add your record to direct your domain to Shopify. You do this by locating your new record and update the one listing “WWW” with shops.myshopify.com; then save.
Now, you just need to verify the domain and make it your primary domain. Go back to your Shopify dashboard and hit “verify connection”. Don’t worry if you’re not seeing your domain listed by Shopify in a moment; this process can take as long as 48 hours.
If you feel uneasy, you always have the option to contact your registrar’s support team to check if everything is OK.
Once it’s listed, just follow the same steps as with Shopify Managed domains to use your new name as the primary domain.
As soon as you’ve set your primary domain, your customers will be able to access your store through it.
Older name: what do you do?
Sure, our focus is to set up our new domain if we can’t use our original one for any reason, but you might be left wondering what you should do with the older domain.
Well, first off, don’t even worry if the older domain had a “myshopify” URL; it’s discarded automatically.
On the other hand, you can reassign domains bought from other providers to other websites without any issue; you own it after all. However, you can just keep it until you find a use for it (just keep in mind renewing it) or simply sell it to someone else.
If you want to sell it, you can find many domain marketplaces where you can list your domains for sale. If you find you have a domain with a high demand, then you might be surprised at how much you can make from it.
Changing your domain name with Shopify is seamless and straightforward. Don’t feel intimidated by the many registrars or any issue you might think could arise. All reputable registrars have excellent customer support, so even if there’s a problem, you should be able to solve everything quickly.
There’s no reason to stick with a URL or name that doesn’t fit your store. In fact, you don’t even have to commit to a name that you simply don’t like anymore. It’s easy to feel pressured after building your site and not knowing how to name it, and you’ll likely pick a name that you won’t like in a few months if you didn’t plan for it.
So, if there’s any reason you don’t want to continue using the same domain, just go ahead and change it. Especially with how easy Shopify makes it, and how cheap it can be with sites like Namecheap, you can change your store’s name in a few minutes.